What is cultural competence?

From WikiEducator
Jump to: navigation, search

What is cultural competence?

Cultural Competence is a term that in an education context refers to providing safe and inclusive teaching for culturally diverse populations. This term has become a regular part of education language in recent years and has long been incorporated into healthcare language and practice.

There are varying definitions relating to the context.

"Culturally competent teachers are able to use the learner’s culture/s as a building block to learn and teach. They understand how to utilise the learner’s culture/s to aid the teaching and learning process, as well as to facilitate relationships and professional growth." (New Zealand Teachers Council, n.d. p.2.)

There are key concepts common to the range of definitions which include:

  • awareness of own cultural perspectives and attitude towards difference
  • knowledge of diversity and differing perspectives
  • skills around communicating and interacting with others across cultures
  • respect for diversity

Icon reading.jpg


  • Note down your own definition of cultural competence.
  • Explore the term cultural competence further.
  • Did the key concepts listed above appear in your explorations?
  • Have your own thoughts around cultural competence been verified or have they changed following your exploration?.

Icon reflection.gif


Lindsey et al stated "The first step for teachers in developing cultural competencies is recognizing how their own perspectives and knowledge of the world are rooted in a particular cultural, racial, and ethnic identity and history" (cited in Trumball & Pacheo, 2005, p.3.).

  • Reflect on your own cultural identity.
  • What factors impact on who you are and influence the way that you do and think about things?

References: New Zealand Teacher's Council. (n.d). Tātaiako Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners : A resource for use with the Graduating Teacher Standards and Registered Teacher Criteria. New Zealand Teacher's Council. Retrieved from http://www.teacherscouncil.govt.nz/required/Tataiako_RTCandGTS.pdf

Trumbull,E. & Pacheco, M. (2005). Leading with Diversity. Brown University and Pacific Resources for Education and Learning. Retrieved from http://www.alliance.brown.edu/pubs/leading_diversity/lwd_entire.pdf